- Fast WiFi
- Acceptable food and beverage choices, but without any 'wow' factor
- Due for a refurbishment, but works are yet to begin
- Limited work space, and power points are scarce
- Nice views of the airport, particularly towards the gates Qantas uses
Flagged by Qantas for an upgrade in mid-2018 but with renovations yet to begin a year later – and no commencement date for those works even announced – the Qantas international business class lounge at Tokyo's Narita Airport stands overdue for a revamp.
Better-resembling a domestic business class lounge than a true international-grade facility, here's what the Qantas lounge at Narita Airport currently offers passengers jetting to Melbourne, Brisbane or further afield.
Location & Impressions
Situated within the international departures area of Narita Airport's Terminal 2, you'll find the Qantas lounge adjacent to gate 82.
As I hadn't flown through Narita in a little while, the Qantas check-in agent helpfully provided the following map to the lounge, which was appreciated:
Accordingly, I followed the signs to gates 81-89...
... and spotted the escalator down to the Qantas lounge on the left-hand side, although the Qantas signage here could have certainly been bigger and more prominent:
On the level below and around the corner sits the lounge entrance:
Inside, the space largely mirrors some of Qantas' older domestic business class lounges, particularly the former Brisbane Domestic Business Lounge prior to its recent relocation and redevelopment, using many of the same light fixtures, furniture pieces and even the same carpet as in Brisbane:
Divided into zones, you'll begin by stepping into a casual relaxation space, before proceeding through to a small dining area with working benches...
... with the vast majority of seats enjoying airport views towards gate 82, being one of the gates Qantas typically uses for its flights to Australia – Brisbane, on the evening I flew through.
Although Qantas' only flights of the day depart at 7:55pm (to Brisbane) and 8:05pm (to Melbourne), the lounge itself opens from 7:30am until 9:30pm daily, catering to passengers taking partner airline flights which use this as their go-to lounge, as well as those who choose to stop by from the access list below.
- Business class – and where available, first class – passengers of Qantas (to Melbourne and Brisbane), Air Tahiti Nui, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, S7 Airlines, SriLankan Airlines.
- Qantas Gold, Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge frequent flyers travelling with any Oneworld airline; with a QF flight number on their ticket; or with Emirates.
- Qantas Club members booked to fly on a Qantas (QF) flight number, including prior to QF codeshare flights operated by partner airlines.
- Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members travelling with Qantas or another Oneworld airline.
- Emirates Skywards Gold and Platinum cardholders booked on a Qantas or Emirates flight with a QF or EK flight number.
- American Airlines Admirals Club members travelling with Qantas on a QF or AA flight number.
- Fiji Airways Tabua Club members flying with Fiji Airways on an FJ flight number, or Tabua Club Plus members flying with Qantas or Fiji Airways.
- Selected credit card users, Qantas Silver frequent flyers and guests of Platinum One members using a single-entry Qantas lounge pass.
Note that as Jetstar Asia and Jetstar Japan now both operate from Terminal 3 at Narita Airport, access to the Qantas lounge is not available prior to these flights.
A number of the airlines above also operate their own lounges here in Terminal 2 – including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Japan Airlines – so although access to the Qantas lounge is available to eligible passengers, it doesn't serve as the 'default' lounge for these flights.
Finally, also be aware that Qantas' flights from Tokyo to Sydney fly out of Haneda Airport instead, so passengers on QF26 are directed to the business class or first class lounge of Japan Airlines.
Stopping by around 3.5 hours before QF62 to Brisbane – at a time when the lounge was primarily hosting Air Tahiti Nui passengers – found a selection of hot food including fish and wedges, braised chicken with tomato sauce and pasta...
... aside various meats and salads...
... mushroom soup with condiments...
... and a toasted sandwich station:
Interestingly, only after the Air Tahiti Nui flight was called for boarding did any Japanese food appear, being a small sushi tray:
Aside from the typical rolled egg, I tried one of everything, and particularly liked the bites at 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock in the photo below, although the prawn sushi (12 o'clock) was rather tasteless and the other merely so-so – and I also would've appreciated a dipping pot for the soy sauce rather than having that sauce swimming amongst the sushi on the main plate:
When the sushi came out, so did a plate of pizza, but with several kids doing laps of the buffet and filling their plates with slices the moment each new pizza appeared, taking a photo proved impossible.
You can, however, find lighter snacks at an adjacent counter...
... nearby where tea, DIY coffee and other beverages are served:
While you'll find these drinks at the right-hand side of the main buffet counter, there's also a separate bar area which tends to be a tad quieter, offering beer-pouring machines...
... a selection of spirits, mixers and garnishes...
... and chilled white wines, along with room temperature reds out of view...
... although don't expect to find Champagne, with the house sparkling being a Jacob's Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir:
Nearby, a drinks fridge with more mixers and beers, but also saké – Japanese rice wine, for those unfamiliar. Even if you're not normally a saké drinker, I'd recommend trying a glass of the Mio sparkling saké (blue bottle on the top shelf), which is a little sweeter than other varieties and pairs well with seafood sushi, for those seeking a last taste of Japan before returning home:
As to dining, you'll find tables and chairs situated between the main buffet and the bar area...
... although the vast majority of seats here are better-suited to snacks and cocktails:
When there's work to accomplish, the best place for this is at the bench seats along the windows, where you can enjoy the view...
... however, be aware that around half the seats here have no access to power...
... so if you do need an AC outlet, head further along, as the benches towards the back of the lounge do feature three-pin Japanese-style outlets, but not USB power.
There are also a few iMac workstations in between – and what seems to have happened is that in previous years, there used to be many more of these which were connected to power via those round openings atop the benches, but when the number of computers was reduced, those cable slots were simply taped over, rather than desk-level power points being installed in their place – or even a power board, which would have been better than nothing:
As such, my recommendation for the best place to work is the bench area right up the back of the space, which not only provides desk-level power points, but also resides next to one of the quietest areas of the lounge, so there are fewer distractions when trying to concentrate:
More pleasing was the availability and speed of the WiFi, with tests showing average download speeds of 18Mbps and average uploads of 23Mbps – zippy enough for web browsing, sending and receiving large email attachments and files, and streaming HD video.
If you're looking to unwind before your flight, you'll have plenty of seating choices as most of the lounge leans towards kicking back rather than productivity, such as right past reception, where you can choose between a 'domestic lounge' vibe with a TV at the ready...
... and a view towards the airport, by facing the other way:
Or, head a little further into the lounge and settle in with a refreshment:
These seats are handy if waiting for a colleague or friend to arrive, as you have a good view of the lounge's main walkway – but otherwise are rather exposed.
In any case, you'll find a variety of reading material available – most in English, although visiting on a Sunday night found newspapers printed Saturday, which really contain Friday's news, so I left them be:
Instead, my choice pick is this small 'lounge room' area down the very back of the lounge, not least because most travellers will settle in somewhere else before discovering this space – making it quieter – but also because there's more room to move, with fewer seats as well as a TV:
Even as the lounge started to fill up, I remained the only passenger sitting here, and had plenty of space to stretch out with a glass of wine in-hand (or, on-bench), until migrating over to the new Japan Airlines first class lounge, which I could also access.
Shower suites are available too, but all things considered, this really feels like a Qantas domestic business class lounge (and an older one at that) plonked down at an international airport, rather than a true international business class facility such as you'd find in Hong Kong.
It's certainly not up to the modern Qantas lounge standard with amenities like pre-flight dining and bartender service, not to mention a look and feel resembling the city in which it's located.
Savvy Qantas Platinum (and other Oneworld Emerald) frequent flyers will head to the infinitely superior Japan Airlines first class lounge, while Gold-grade frequent flyers and business class travellers should make tracks to JAL's international Sakura Lounge.
Chris Chamberlin travelled at his own expense using frequent flyer points.